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Managing Your Financial Affairs – The Durable Power Of Attorney

In Florida, a Durable Power of Attorney permits you (“the principal”) to designate an individual (“the agent”) to act in your legal capacity in a variety of circumstances. Under Florida law, a Durable Power of Attorney must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary. A principal may execute a power of attorney to be either very broad or quite specific. For example, you may have done a limited power of attorney when you have purchased a car so the dealership can transfer the title of your vehicle. On the other hand, there are several advantages to creating a broader Durable Power of Attorney as part of your estate plan. A properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney can allow an agent to carry out important financial powers, including but not limited to managing your brokerage and bank accounts, real estate, and other financial matters.

One of the most common myths concerning a Durable Power of Attorney is that it only becomes effective when the principal becomes incapacitated. However, Florida law states that “…a power of attorney is ineffective if the power of attorney provides that it is to become effective at a future date or upon the occurrence of a future event or contingency.” (See Florida Statute 709.2108 (3)). Therefore, it is crucial to recognize that as soon as you sign a Durable Power of Attorney all the powers listed on the document go into effect immediately and not upon your incapacity. This can obviously be concerning, if not downright scary, for many people when considering the creation of a Durable Power of Attorney. However, a Durable Power of Attorney can be very important as part of your estate plan saving you and your family significant time and money in the event of your incapacity. Due to a Durable Power of Attorney’s importance as well its power it is imperative to understand the pros and cons of this important legal document.

Before you create your Durable Power of Attorney or have any questions regarding this important document talk with our attorneys. We offer free consultations. Call 561-760-9121or email us today.